Printing exhibition connects local community and 5Cs, mixes traditional and contemporary artforms

The Garner House, where the exhibition is located, functions as a community gathering space in the heart of old Claremont at Memorial Park.  (Courtesy: Marina Shishkina_Reprinting)

5C students and Claremont community members recently joined forces to create a printmaking exhibition, titled RePrinting Claremont, which opened at the Garner House on Saturday, March 4. The exhibition weaved together Claremont past, present and future through Claremont Heritage’s Special Collections and student artwork to display the shared roots of the Claremont community.

Claremont Heritage is a non-profit organization focused on keeping community traditions alive through researching, recording and sharing. The Garner House, where the exhibition is located, functions as a community gathering space in the heart of old Claremont at Memorial Park.  

“Claremont Heritage turned the former garage into an exhibition and conference space,” David Shearer, executive director at Claremont Heritage, said. 

Marina Shishkina SC ’25, a student curator and employee at Claremont Heritage, began working at the organization this past year, when she discovered these special collections in their archives. 

“This amazing art was all just tucked away,” Shishkina said. 

The space displays prints of local legends within the art community, such as Millard Sheets and Phil Paradise, who inspired many of the art movements in the area. 

“Sheets essentially founded the Scripps [College] art department in 1932 and brought in working artists to teach at Scripps,” Shearer said. 

Sheets’ legacy continues today through the Scripps Fine Arts Foundation, which gives scholarships to Scripps art students each year. 

“I was looking at the art in the archives,” said Shishkina, “and I was like, ‘what the heck, this needs to be shown.’”

RePrinting Claremont also highlights the prints of student artists. A mission of this exhibit is to shed light on the legacy of these local artists within the Claremont community and ultimately how these sources function as inspiration for present and future student artists. 

“The student art strengthens the connection to the greater community and is a continuation of the art legacy that comes from the college,” Shearer said. 

The exhibition displays several printmaking methods: serigraph, lithograph, etching, collagraph and monoprint, designed to “reflect the diversity of [Claremont’s] art community,” according to Shishkina.

Mel Gross SC ’24, an attendee of the showcase opening, particularly enjoyed Phil Paradise’s 1940 lithograph “Moon Mad,” which depicts a group of horses in a field at night. It’s one of the oldest pieces at the show. 

“I love the style of it, it’s almost like a dreamscape.” Gross said. “It’s very fitting of the intergenerational theme of the event.”

The showcase also features works inspired by the natural spaces within the Claremont community. 

“The exhibition provokes this homey atmosphere,” Shishkina said. “You can really feel Claremont as you work your way through the space.”   

“The exhibition provokes this homey atmosphere. You can really feel Claremont as you work your way through the space.”

Interestingly, this showcase tells a story of artistic craft. For instance, the structure of the exhibition reflects the extensive nature of art cultivation. The showcase presents the first drafts, art tools, print blocks and the printmaking press. 

Kesi Jackson SC ’23 conceived the set up as conducive to the narrative and linear flow of the exhibition. 

“It’s amazing to see the same techniques being used throughout these times,” Jackson said.

The framework of this exhibition aims to reimagine gallery spaces through this event.

“We’ve formulated this exhibition to detach from the white-cube, typical setup,” Shishkina said.

Moreover, the central theme of this showcase is to foster dialogue and a sense of community in Claremont. The curators of this space aim to build bridges for this connection to be possible. 

“We’ve placed sofas in the center of this space to signal conversation and comfort with one another,” Shishkina said. 

Similarly, Shearer conceives this environment construction as valuable for building relationships. 

“It creates the experience of a domestic environment,” Shearer said. “It also allows for people to comfortably interact with each other.”  

In essence, the curators hope to see attendees of the event foster relationships and allow the transmission of knowledge across generational lines. They hope to unite the local public and the colleges through these art forms. 

“The crowd and experience of the event felt so natural,” Gross said. “There was this sense of closeness present in the space.” 

For Shishkina, working on this exhibition has fostered a sense of home in Claremont for her through building relationships and connections with the community. 

“Recognizing the history of this new home of mine has been something really special,” Shishkina said. “I hope that people come into the space to begin a new conversation and form a new connection and understanding of Claremont.”

The exhibition continues for community visitation Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or by appointment through March 24.

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